The metaphor of the job hunt is inherently dis-empowering.
It casts you as a hunter, stalking prey which is doing everything in its power to elude you. It requires you to camouflage yourself, to hide your true colors in order to capture something.
I don’t know about you, but this does not seem like a good way to envision developing one of the most important parts of your life.
So how about creating a new, more empowering metaphor? Here are a few some of my clients and I have created:
Job Happy Hour
This framing allows S to enjoy the process. She’s a social animal so this metaphor helps her relax and stay confident. Just like at happy hour, there’s always one more person to talk to, one more lead to follow. Whether leads “pan out” or not, she’s having fun meeting people, making connections and mixing things up. And when she does hit upon a promising lead, it’s a result of her being more herself so it feels easy.
This is my metaphor for career management. I love putting different ideas and elements into the crock pot for a long, slow cook. When I first started imagining my post-HR life in 1996, I knew I wanted to use my voice, to support others in transforming their lives, to do something different every day and to work outside the corporate office environment. That's all I knew. Over time, these elements simmered and blended with my experience and actions to create my current work life.
What metaphor will inspire you to create the work life you most desire?
Creating meaningful work is a lifelong process, not an event.
Do you have the skills and stamina needed to take charge of your career for the long term?
I've started over many times in my career. In fact I'm in the midst of a big career change right now.
Over and over again I've come back to what I know is true about career change. And I've used this knowledge to support myself and my clients to create work lives that more fully align with their most important values and beliefs. Here's what I've learned.
My Four Key Truths to Creating Meaningful Work
1) You don't have to find a new job to start changing your career
In fact, you can start changing your career right now by changing how you relate and react to your current work. Make a list of things at work that are positive. Even if there's just one thing on the list, focus on that one thing. Make time for it. Savor it. Shift all your mental resources to appreciating and building on that one thing.
2) Urgency is your enemy. Take your time.
Career management is like using a crock-pot. We mix in ingredients and let it simmer. We come back and check on it, adjust seasonings, add what's neeeded and let it sit again. Too often, people approach their careers with a microwave mentality. This creates stress and panic.
3) Curiosity over passion.
I trust my curiosity and tend to follow it, even when I don't know where it's leading. Even when it seems to be taking me on a major tangent. It's no surprise that I met my husband on a blind date! In this podcast, Elizabeth Gilbert, the author Eat, Pray, Love, explains the superiority of curiosity better than I ever could.
4) The resume comes last. Long-term career fulfillment begins with inner work.
A resume created out of urgency, fear and stress will not reflect your truth. A resume created out of alignment, excitement, confidence and curiosity will open doors.
By following these key truths I have navigated several career changes and started a business. Last year I decided to give up my biggest, most predictable source of income in order to create space for something more meaningful. And just last week I was awarded work that will more than cover the income source I'm leaving behind. This new assignment will also allow me to travel and work in an industry I'm fascinated by.
What would you do if these truths were guiding your career?